Beloved in Christ Jesus: Greetings in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Times of crisis such as we are now living through are revealing. They force us to focus on what is really important to us and it has been so encouraging to see Gafcon churches around the world quickly adapting to new ways of being church and proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ using the tools the internet gives us.
Our churches are also making it a priority to care for the most vulnerable. Here in North America, our Matthew 25 Initiative network is serving some of the most poor and under-resourced people in North America from some 100 centers, while globally, the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (see https://ardf.org/apply-for-covid19-funds) is seeking to provide on the ground relief. Our General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi, is serving on Barnabas Fund’s Africa Coronavirus Relief Committee to channel relief to the most vulnerable and enable the Churches to continue their ministries.
Please be aware that the people and churches of Africa are suffering not only from the impact of the coronavirus economic lockdown, but in East Africa also from recurrent and massive locust plagues which are devasting crops. And in addition to the pandemic, Christians in northern Nigeria are suffering intensified and barbaric attacks from Fulani Jihadist tribesmen who are deliberately targeting women and children. All of this is a matter of much prayer, and I call on our intercessors to join us in beseeching our Lord to provide for His people in the midst of their needs.
While for many, lockdown has slowed the pace of life, the paradox of this pandemic is that there is actually a speeding up of social change; for example, the rapid embrace of new communications technology and the turn from globalisation. Who would have thought two months ago that most of our churches would be using technology to gather people for worship, Bible studies, and prayer meetings??!! Online attendance in most cases has been larger than regular attendance.
My brother Gafcon Primate, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, has encouraged Nigerians to turn wholeheartedly to Christ in this time of crisis, saying
My brother Gafcon Primate, Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit encouraged Kenyans to remember their faith at this time, saying,
Death is an all too present reality as this pandemic reminds us. Jesus came into the world that human beings might have life, and have life to the fullest (John 10:10). He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him (John 14:6). He went further saying that he was the resurrection and the life and whoever believes in him, although they die, they shall live (John 11:25). For those of us who have put our faith and belief in Jesus, and been born anew by the Holy Spirit, we do not have to fear and we do not have to be anxious about what tomorrow will bring. As the Apostle Paul wrote so powerfully:
As you read this letter, I invite you to bow the knee of your heart (or actually get on your knees) and repent of your ungodly ways; that is, change your mind about living for yourself and begin anew to follow in God’s ways. I invite you to take “self” off the throne of your life and allow Jesus his rightful place – as your Lord of lords and King of kings. Remember, like Jesus said to the Church in Laodicea, he says to you and me:
Your brother in the hope and faith of Christ,
The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach
Chairman, Gafcon Primates Council